Everyday Cheapskate: 9 Ways to Guarantee a Fabulous Family Vacation
When I was a kid, vacation meant four kids crammed into the back seat of a sedan, poking and elbowing one another while counting the miles between rest stops.
Things have changed dramatically since then. But even with onboard DVD players, electronic devices, spacious minivans, air travel, cruises and theme parks, family vacations can either be delightful or disastrous. It all depends on the care you devote to research and planning.
ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE
Here is the first rule of family vacations: Parents on vacation really aren't. If you can unload personal expectations that you will be relaxed and refreshed when it's over, you won't be disappointed when you're not. And if you do get a little rest and relaxation along the way, consider it an unexpected bonus.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT COST
Decide ahead of time how much cash you have for this vacation. If you have, say, a family of five and $500 to spend, don't even think about a couple of days at Disney World.
Always consider the money you have first, and then design a vacation that will realistically fit within that financial boundary.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT TIME
Don't try to stretch your available cash to cover the maximum time you have to be away from home. Divide what you can spend by a reasonable daily budget to determine how many days you can be gone. Carefully consider all the costs, not only the admission fees and overnight accommodations.
Instead of full weeks, consider day trips or a weekend vacation. When it comes to family vacations, quality is considerably more important than quantity.